The successful sale or purchase of a home relies heavily on one person - the realtor. Therefore, the process of finding and hiring a real estate agent should be approached with the utmost care and preparation. From conducting the appropriate amount of research to asking the right questions, check out these useful tips on finding and hiring a realtor that is a great fit for you.
1. Research Realtors in Your Local Area
No one understands the housing market of a particular neighborhood or part of town quite like a realtor who frequently conducts business there. This is why your research to find the right realtor should start close to where you’re selling or looking to buy.
An effective way to do this is to ditch the phone book and take a stroll around your target neighborhood. Look for signs from different real estate companies or agents that you notice more often. Chances are, these agents are familiar with and achieve success in that region. Also, if you’re looking for a realtor to help you sell, agents who are local to your market may give you a “locals” discount on their fees as well as get you more money for your home - it’s a win-win!
2. Check Credible Sites for Realtor Reviews
If you check Yelp reviews before selecting a new restaurant to try, imagine how much more vital this is when choosing someone to help you sell or purchase a new home! Reading realtor prospect’s online reviews are crucial before making a final decision on who to go with.
Much like a job interview, an in-person meeting can only reveal so much. Think of your potential real estate agent’s online reviews as similar to checking references - this is a simple precaution that can help dodge lots of hassle later. Well-known realty websites such as Zillow, and Trulia are credible resources that offer key details such as behaviors, selling/buying tactics and communication styles of different realtors in your area. It's also an effective way to get a first-hand account from an agent’s previous clients.
3. Ask Realtor Prospects the Right Questions
Selling or purchasing a home is a big deal - so there’s no such thing as being too sure about who you select to handle the task. Therefore, asking the right questions (lots of them) is highly recommended. If you’re at a loss for what to ask, the following list can start you off in the right direction.
- “What are your most recent sales in the area and what were the final sales prices vs. asking prices?
As mentioned before, an agent’s familiarity doing business in a certain area can significantly impact his success.
- “How many years of experience do you have?”
While it’s possible that a newbie to the real estate industry can handle your property transaction as well as a seasoned one, it’s best to go with an agent with some years under their belt. While there’s no hard and fast rule on how much experience, you should feel comfortable with the value your realtor brings to the table.
While most real estate agents get paid through commission, some charge a flat fee instead. Make sure to get confirmation on this so you can make an informed decision.
- “What’s your communication style?”
Even the best realtor in the business won’t be ideal if their communication style doesn’t align with yours. Be clear on the amount and style of communication you expect from a future realtor. Don’t allow the real estate agent to dictate this - selling or buying a home is a big step and your realtor should adhere to whatever standards you set forth.
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While these questions aren’t set in stone, they do touch on the the major points of information you need from a potential realtor match.
For a more extensive list of questions to ask a real estate agent prospect, check out Redfin’s article on 15 questions to ask a new real estate agent.
Selling or purchasing a home is undoubtedly one of the biggest tasks related to moving. Once you successfully conquer this piece of the puzzle, you’re free to take on the less daunting aspects of a big move. However, as we said before, a successful home transaction all starts with finding the right realtor fit.